MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The countdown to March has begun, and so has the anxiety about Selection Sunday.
West Virginia has not had the start to Big 12 play that it had hoped, but according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, the squad is still in the 68-team field for the NCAA Tournament. In his latest projection released Wednesday, Lunardi slotted the Mountaineers as one of the “last four in.”
That is a slight dip from the team’s previous projection as a “last four byes” team on Tuesday, meaning that WVU would compete in a play-in game in Lunardi’s current projection. In either scenario, West Virginia would be an 11-seed.
The Mountaineers have won just two of their first nine games in the Big 12 but recently picked up a valuable win over No. 15 Auburn in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Despite a 13-9 overall record, WVU is ranked highly in the NET, sitting at No. 24 — a steady climb over the last couple of weeks.
That is likely due to the team’s strength of schedule, which is ranked sixth nationally according to Ken Pomeroy. The stout Big 12 Conference has a big hand in this as eight of the 10 teams in the league have earned a spot in Lunardi’s latest projection.
In fact, according to KenPom, six of the nation’s 12 hardest schedules belong to Big 12 schools.
WVU continues its quest for a return to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday when it hosts Oklahoma at the WVU Coliseum.